DAVID MOYES hopes that teenage stars like Apostolos Vellios and Ross Barkley can be at the vanguard of an emerging young, new Everton team this season.
On a day when the Blues had to rely heavily on untried players to secure a late victory over Wigan – deadline day arrivals Royston Drenthe scored from a Denis Stracqualursi flick on, and Vellios scored the decisive second goal – Moyes warned Everton fans that he would have to lean heavily on youth again this season.
Ross Barkley has already made an impact this season at 17, Vellios (19) celebrated his first Premier League goal on Saturday and the Blues boss also spoke warmly in his programme notes of Conor McAleny’s progress.
After Everton’s 3-1 win Moyes said: “It’s difficult for a couple of Everton Football Club supporters to accept that because we’re a big club they see themselves as one of the big clubs. But if I don’t put the young boys in we could go with what we’ve got and eventually they could all get older and we won’t have a team.
“So I have to find a way of finding a new team and if nothing else see what young boys we think can go the distance.
“Jack’s (Rodwell) played well today, Marouane’s young, Ross Barkley’s on the fringes of it, Seamus is still young. We feel as if we’ve got the makings of it but we’re lacking at the top end of the pitch, and at times wide players, but today we did okay.
“I don’t think we’ve got a group (of young players), but we’ve got two or three who might have a chance and we’re trying to push them.”
Vellios and Royston Drenthe claimed the headlines on Saturday with their first Goodison goals.
But afterwards Moyes added: “If you’d judged them on goals I’d have said ‘great’ but on bits of their performance I’d have said ‘no’ but I made a decision that we needed to try something.
“We’d run out of ideas midway through the second half and we were looking for solutions as to how we could try and cause Wigan some more problems.”
After a bright introduction against Aston Villa last weekend, Vellios scored a stunning header and Moyes added: “He can finish from crosses, as you saw today. He’s got an ability to get on the end of things and he’s actually technically really good for a big lad.
“He didn’t show it in the early part, but technically he’s very gifted so we have something to work with and because of that we’ve said okay let’s give you a go on the big stage.
“To start matches he has to do things like make the right decision, like when he shot instead of playing Leon Osman in when he was in a good position and there were moments when he gave the ball away a couple of times in risky positions.
“He has to be more secure with the ball. We were having to defend at that time and he has to realise the importance of it, but he did in the end and the goal will help him. He’s a young centre forward and he’ll be thrilled to score that goal.”
Vellios joined Everton last January for £50,000 from Iraklis, identified by the same scout who spotted Seamus Coleman – a scout who has since moved to Chelsea.
“I don’t take credit for finding them,” added Moyes. “Mick Doherty was the one who got me Seamus Coleman from Ireland for 60 grand and Tolos from a second division club in Greece for less than that.
“But as a manager, at prices like that if the scouts really think that they’re worthwhile we bring them in. It’s a lot for us to then expect those boys to be Premier League players. It’s very few you can turn into that. But thankfully the one or two we’ve got are at least giving us a bit of competition.
“That we are starting with Cahill and Osman tells you a little bit about how we think. We think that they still have something to offer and in the first half they did. Ossie got between the lines and caused them problems, Cahill had one or two bits.
“But the ones who came on gave us something to think about. I’m not getting carried away. We have played better but I think it was an important game for us to win today.”